the name suggests, the intestines of the horse with spasmodic colic develop
muscular spasms or ‘cramps’, causing pain. The is one of the most commonest
types of colic in horses.
The cause of
spasmodic colic is unclear. In many animals it seems to develop for no apparent
reason, although as some excitable animals may develop spasmodic colic with the
slightest of changes in there daily routine, it could be regarded as a symptom
of increased stress levels. It has been suggested that some cases may be due to
the migration of worms through the intestinal wall, causing
‘hyper-excitability’ of that portion of intestine and ‘cramps’. A single
worm may be all that is required to trigger such spasms, which therefore may
occur in horses which are receiving regular and appropriate worming treatment.
Some horses with
spasmodic colic may show very severe pain and thrash around the box. It is often
possible to hear rumbling gut noises from quite a distance and animals may
produce several piles of feces in quick succession following the onset of
colic. The respiratory rate may be markedly elevated, but heart rate is not
usually very high. Rectal examination, stomach tubing and peritoneal tap will
all yield normal results.